November Newsletter

Highlight of my week was speaking about curating the menu and wines to give them a NSW and Australian flavour for the Sydney Speakers Series lunch in Australia House. L to R; Beverley Parker, Director of Business Development, ICC Sydney, me and Lyn Lewis-Smith, CEO of Business Events Sydney in Australia House

It’s been another busy week, beginning with a trip to Hastings by train on Saturday, a walk around the old town, fabulous seafood lunch at Rock A Nore Kitchen and then a lovely time with family in Pett, experiencing cracker night with a bonfire as I haven’t since I was a child. It was great seeing the nieces and nephews setting off the rockets and guessing the colours they would be when they exploded. Evidently my son Blair had just loved it when he visited years ago, as these activities are now prohibited in Sydney.
The train trip down was really comfortable and easy, as was one on Monday to Bristol. What a lovely city that is!
This week also saw the culmination of some work I have been doing, curating the menu for the prestigious Sydney Speakers Series lunch at the Australian High Commission, Australia House. The am of the lunch, hosted by Business Events Sydney,  was to bring together significant business people to discuss issues, but also to highlight the appeal of the International Convention Centre Sydney as a venue for an international conference. My task was to give an Australian flavour to the menu and speak about it at the lunch. I liaised with the caterer Jackson Gilmour to guide the menu, source some Australian produce and also obtain NSW wines.
They were great to deal with, and I’m pleased to say we served MSC Spencer Gulf King prawns churrasco-style with Aji Sauce from my Taste of Australia cookbook (recipe below). Hiramasa Kingfish was served on a Chinese spoon, torched and served with Kuwayki sauce (sake, mirin, dashi, soy and ginger juice) a recipe I had developed previously. Mains starred JBS Global Red Gum Creek grassfed lamb which was served served with seasonal vegetables roasted heritage carrots from Kent, endives braised in orange juice, dehydrated caramelised onion  ash, olive oil  mash, and  redcurrant jus. To finish a seasonal dessert typical of an Australian (or British)  autumn: Warm pear tarte tatin with Australia’s own native nut, the macadamia, chantilly cream, pear crispIt was Louis Pasteur who said “A meal without wine is like a day without sunshine” so, of course the wine is ever important. The ICC proudly has a wine list which is something like 80% from NSW with the remainder being from Australia plus French champagne. I was adamant we needed to serve a Hunter Valley Semillon as an iconic wine style. Therefore I asked my friend Neil McGuigan at Australian Vintage if they would like to supply the wine. Naturally they jumped at the chance and supplied the Tempus Two Blanc de Blanc 2017 for arrival, as well as the McGuigan Bin 9000 Hunter Valley Semillon 2018 which is their most highly awarded wine. In fact, Neil has been named International Winemaker of the Year an unprecedented four times (2009, 2011, 2012 and 2016). This was also offered with mains, along with Tempus Two Gundagai Shiraz 2017. All was very well received and I thank the suppliers.
However, the real highlight of the lunch was meeting, and hearing the keynote address by The Right Honorable Baroness Amos CH PC talking about local vs global. She is a Guyana-born British politician and diplomat, made a Labour Life Peer and was Leader of the House of Lords, now Director of 
SOAS University London. In an engaging address where she noted the polarisation which is occuring, she made the point that we have never been more connected, but only in a more limited way as it is within our own circle, not experiencing a wide range of people and opinions. Food for thought. She spoke of uncertainty and responsibility, her final words in response to some excellent questions: “People matter”.

TOP L to R: Churrasco Spencer Gulf Prawns with Aji Sauce, Torched Hiramasa Kingfish with Kuwyaki Sauce. BOTTOM L to R JBS Global Red Gum Creek lamb about to be served, with Baroness Valerie Amos

Jump ahead to see:
What’s In Season
The best in fruit and veggies
Focus on Papaya
Recipe of the week
In Season Recipes
Techniques and Know How
New Selector Magazine
London Jottings
Interesting Reading and Viewing
What’s On
Japan or Puglia?

What’s In Season

Mulberries, strawberry and grapes
Images thanks to the Sydney Markets


  • Avocados
  • Banana
  • Blueberries
  • Cherries
  • Grapefruit
  • Loquats
  • Mangoes
  • Melons
  • Mulberries
  • Oranges: Valencia
  • Papaw
  • Papaya
  • Passionfruit
  • Pineapples
  • Youngberries


  • Artichokes: Globe
  • Asian greens
  • Asparagus
  • Beans: Green
  • Cucumber
  • Chillies
  • Onions: Spring
  • Onions: Green (Shallots)
  • Peas
  • Potatoes
  • Silverbeet
  • Spinach
  • Sweetcorn
  • Tomatoes
  • Watercress
  • Zucchini
  • Zucchini flowers

The best in fruit and veggies this week in Australia

Supplies of new season nectarines and peaches continue to improve.  Fruit for the North Coast is sweet eating. There are several varieties to select from each varying in colour, flavour and flesh texture. Both white and yellow fleshed peaches and nectarines are now available.  

Bananas are the ultimate health and convenient snack food, choose from the ever-popular Cavendish or smaller, sweeter and dense-fleshed Lady Finger bananas.  Both are perfect to pop into a lunch box or serve bananas with salted caramel fudge sauce.  

Aromatic plump Victorian and NSW strawberries are in good supply. Get creative and try them in strawberry smoothies, a Berry & Ricotta Tiramisu or Berry Eton Mess

Sweet and luscious mangoes are in abundance. Choose firm mangoes with an alluring tropical aroma. Ripe fruit yields to gentle pressure around the stem. Enjoy the many varieties available including Kensington Pride, Calypso and R2E2. M

Its mulberry season. Wash mulberries then place in a saucepan and lightly sprinkle with caster sugar. Cover and gently poach, stirring once or twice, over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until just tender. Serve with muesli and yoghurt for breakfast. 

It’s time to start enjoying new season cherries. Drier weather should make cherries more concentrated and richly flavoured. They make a healthy low GI and fat free snack. 

Juicy orange-flesh rockmelon has a distinctive sweet taste and netted looking firm skin.  The sweetest rockmelons have a delicate musky aroma.  Serve wedges of watermelon on a platter with a tub of reduced fat tropical yoghurt as the perfect spring snack. 

Apricots have started to arrive at your local greengrocer.

Broad beans, asparagus and bok choy

Ultra-nutritious and versatile mushrooms are a top buy. I eat them raw, in salads, marinate, cook as tempura and in stir fries and sauces.

Australian-grown tender green asparagus is at its best.  Plunge trimmed asparagus spears into a pan of simmering water and cook for 2 minutes, drain and refresh in cold water.  Wrap spears in a sliced of ham for a quick snack, toss chopped spears through salads and include in rice paper roll fillings. 

Slender stems of broccolini and Asian greens like Bok Choy, Choy sum and Gai Lum thrive before the summer heat arrives.  Toss these greens into simple stir-fries for the easiest of meals. 

Choose firm green broad beans with plump rather than bulging pods. Smaller young pods house the most tender beans Delicious broad beans are a source of protein and iron, making them especially valuable for those who choose a vegetarian diet. As a guide, 1 kg broad beans will yield about 250g (1 cup) shelled beans. Here are five favourite broad bean recipes

Spice up meals with chillies. Long red and green chillies vary in heat from about 3-4/10 but are a good all-round chilli with a mild flavour. The red ones are slightly sweeter. Slice and add red chilli to all sorts of salads, pasta sauces and stir-fries. Add green chillies to salsas, curries and marinades.  Store chillies in a snap lock plastic bag or airtight container in the crisper. Use within 2 weeks. For longer store, freeze chillies for up to 6 months. This Cherry Tomato, Chilli & Tuna Spaghetti is delicious and easy.

Leafy green rocket packs a rich peppery punch to salads, pasta dishes, pizza toppings and sandwich fillings. Select tender baby rocket in salad mixes, intensely flavoured wild rocket or bunched rocket (often sold as Arugula). Add salads – this Asparagus, Rocket and Smoked Salad is fresh and healthy. Ensure rocket leaves are crisp and fresh. Avoid yellow, wilting leaves. 

Pale, aromatic bulbs of fennel are delicious eating and fantastic value.Fennel has virtually no fat and few kilojoules making it a useful food for those trying to control weight.  Team Fennel with Pink Grapefruit & Salmon for a delightful salad.

Focus on Papaya


Delicately sweet, papaya is one of the most nutritious fruits! It is rich in both vitamin C (200g would provide 2–3 days’ supply) and beta carotene which the body converts to vitamin A and is needed for normal vision. Red-fleshed papaya has higher levels of beta carotene than varieties with paler flesh. T

Whole papaya continues to ripen after harvesting so it is best to leave it for a few days at room temperature to fully ripen. It’s ready to eat when the fruit loses its greenish hue and yields to gentle pressure around the stem.

For cut papaya, choose the fruit with vibrant pinkish-orange flesh without any bruising. Cover with plastic wrap or place in an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 2 days.

Nature’s own bowl food! For a nutritious start to the day, team delicious papaya with fresh blueberries, crunchy granola and yoghurt.

Fresh Fruit Smoothies
Papaya with Coconut Yoghurt and Granola
Spring Fruits with Honey & Almond Ricotta
Papaya, Mango & Pineapple with Lime Yoghurt

Recipe of the week

Thai Style Green Mango and Papaya Salad with Lightly Spiced Prawns

Great for a light lunch or starter. 

Servings: 4-6
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes

1 small (650g) green papaya, peeled
1 (350g) green mango, peeled
200g (2 ½ cups) bean sprouts
4 long red chillies, deseeded, finely sliced
1 bunch Thai basil
1 bunch Vietnamese mint
1 bunch mint
1 bunch coriander
2 stalks spring onion, finely sliced
100g cashews or macadamia, lightly roasted
2 tablespoons (40ml) peanut oil
12 large green prawns, peeled, deveined, tails intact

2 long red chillies, deseeded and roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
2.5cm piece galangal, peeled and finely chopped
2 coriander roots, washed and roughly chopped
1 ½ tablespoons (30ml) fish sauce
¼ cup (60ml) lime juice
30g (1 ½ tablespoons)  palm sugar

  1. For the dressing: place the chillies, garlic, galangal and coriander roots into a mortar and pound with a pestle to form a paste. Alternatively, process in a food processor. Add fish sauce, lime juice and palm sugar and mix until sugar dissolves. Taste, checking for balance of hot, sour, sweet and salty. Adjust if required.
  2. For the salad: Shave the papaya and green mango carefully with a mandolin then finely slice. Place papaya, green mango, bean sprouts, chilli, herbs, spring onion and nuts in a large bowl. Toss to combine.
  3. Heat oil in a wok or pan over high heat and prawns for one minute each side, or until just cooked through. Spoon 3 tablespoons of dressing over the hot prawns and set aside.
  4. To serve: dress the salad with dressing. Place on plate followed by prawns on top and remaining dressing.

Dan’s notes: Seeds can be left in the chillies for more heat. Feel free to give the salad more bulk by adding finely sliced raw green beans, halved cherry tomatoes, and finely sliced cucumber. The salad can also be garnished with a sprinkle of fried shallot or fried garlic.

*Note: Australian measurements 1 tablespoon = 20ml are used throughout.

Recipe from Lyndey and Herbie’s Moveable Feast by GAIA RETREAT chef – Dan Trewartha

In Season Recipes

L: Prime Rib of Beef with Baby Bean, Corn & Sweet Pepper Salad and R: Brown Sugar meringues with Passionfruit Curd

Churrasco Prawns with Aji Sauce
Corn Cakes with Australian Spiced Guacamole
Stuffed Zucchini Flowers
Coconut & Chilli Curry with Salmon, Corn & Snake Beans
Fish with Green Chilli
Prime Rib of Beef with Baby Bean, Corn & Sweet Pepper Salad
Macadamia Crusted Salmon with Macadamia Couscous
Rack of Lamb with Brown Bread Crust & Crushed Peas
Vanilla Slice
Brown Sugar Meringues with Passionfruit Curd
Grapefruit Delicious Pudding

Techniques and Know How

Samin Nostrat author and presenter of Salt Fat Acid Heat

Pure Wow distills the 29 Essential Cooking tips from Samin Nosrat’s :Salt Fat Acid Heat” on Netflix
Also Exactly What to Do to Treat a Kitchen Burn at Home. I burnt myself on stage while demonstrating at the Sydney Royal Easter Show this year and saved myself serious injury by immediately putting my hand under the running cool tap while back-of-house staff put some ice, water and cloth in a bowl.  I was able to put my hand on the cloth (as ice can burn) and keep it cool, completed my dem and then when to St John’s Ambulance for it to be dressed. They said the quick action of making my hand cold was the most important thing I could have done.
Good Food shares How to cook pasta plus Stephanie Alexander’s 10 simple sauces.
Also the Good Food Guide dish of the year: How to make Bar Liberty’s cacio e pepe pasta. I’ve never heard of putting semolina in the pasta water but will certainly try it. I never put oil in the water either, as it stops the sauce adhering to the pasta. To prevent the pasta sticking just stir until the water returns to the boil. I think the semolina must aid this. Also, I often add some of the pasta water to my sauce anyway and on researching found out that semolina in the water makes for a creamier sauce.

New Selector Magazine 

The theme of the Nov/Dec issue of Selector is celebration

The pop of a cork always says, ‘celebrate!’. The fizz and excitement of Sparkling wine has a magical way of bringing merriment to any occasion. Of course, when you celebrate with bubbles, you want the best, but you don’t want to break the budget. Selector has you covered, tasting and rating the 24 best Australian Sparkling wines under $50.
Cover star Rachel Khoo is always dressed for the occasion and after a recent relocation from the UK to Scandinavia (for love), Rachel shows us how to celebrate ‘Swedish style’.
Two great chefs celebrating in different ways; Andrew McConnell is one of Melbourne’s most endearing restaurateurs with a number of super successful venues, two of which, Cumulus Inc and Cutler & Co, are celebrating 10 wonderful years, while US chef Danielle Alvarez, who is wowing diners at Fred’s in Sydney, hosts a house party in northern NSW.
I show you how to celebrate the festive season with pineapple, and we tag along with Curtis Stone as he tastes his way up the Californian coast.
Add to that a guide to where to eat, drink and be merry in Tassie’s Tamar Valley, a gourmet escapade in Perth, and a dream vertical with Australian premier Sparkling producer House of Arras, and you’ve got plenty of reasons to celebrate. On sale now.

London Jottings

You never know what you’ll glimpse as you walk along the street in London


  • some of the veggies we don’t see so much in Australia, like little pointed cabbages which I just quarter and microwave
  • the endless supply of pork pies in all sizes
  • ease and comfort of travel on longer distance trains – we recently traveled about 1.45 hours to Hastings and also to Bristol. We love NOT having a car in London
  • interesting cauliflower dishes on so many menus – have noticed this in Australia too. Most recently I ate it in a salad with pine nuts, pickled golden raisins & scamorza at Cafe Murano

Not so keen

  • When you take the trouble to book a particular seat on a train, why does no-one take note of it. We take care to book forward facing, with a table – hmmmmmmmmmm….
  • Why do some waiters automatically give the wine list to any man at the table, and even if the female orders the wine, gives it to the man to taste?
  • Things I’ve read in London
    Channel 4’s Bake Off final audience rose by a million more than last year – that’s a peak of 8.6 million.
  • According to Peter Harden, the editor of Harden’s London Restaurants who carried out a survey, the rate of restaurant closures i is at an all-time high, leading to the question, is London close to hitting “peak restaurant”? This included mid range and high end restaurants, but not chains with more than three branches. Of course, there are still many more opening.

Interesting Reading and Viewing

Food as medicine?

Australian Food News predicts the Food trends for 2019. It also reveals US supermarket titan Kroger’s top food trend predictions for 2019.
For Northern Hemisphere readers, with the cold weather, read Fruit and Vegetables to help Prevent Colds and Flu.

Loving this video of Venice restaurant staff wading through the water which comes up over the ground in Venice from time to time, to serve customers. Watch it here.
Good Food interviews four hospitality legends to explain How to host a party like the pros.
Fine dining Lovers interviews Swedens only 3 starred chef, Bjorn Frantzen on Where to eat in Stockholm.
Also Alain Ducasse’ favourite places in London

What’s On

Join the Cure Cancer runway run on 25 November and help save lives

I’m very proud to be an ambassador for Cure Cancer, an innovative charity which funds brilliant young researchers early in their careers who are working to find a cure for all types of cancer. It has raised $64.7m to support lifesaving research across all cancer types, thereby funding over 500 research grants twith many recipients going on to be leaders in cancer research globally. We won’t cure cancer without research. Cure Cancer’s vision is to make this the last generation to die from cancer, so every little bit helps.

Cure Cancer Australia and Sydney Airport are hosting a Family Fun Runway Run, followed by an action packed festive morning for all the family. Kicking off at 8am on Sunday 25th November, this one-of-a-kind event provides a unique opportunity to take part in a series of races down one of Sydney Airport’s iconic runways, all while raising funds to help Cure Cancer!

Races will include:

  • 100m Kids Dash
  • 500m Seriously Fun Run
  • 1km Competitive Run
  • Relay Race (Teams of 4)

Anyone who raises over $250 will be in with a chance of winning a dream Virgin Australia and Hamilton Island holiday! 
All information here.

Time Out shares 50 Things to do in Sydney at least once.

Gourmet Traveller gives the info on Three dinners this month to raise money for mental health. Food for Thought is back with a series of dinners in Brisbane (12 November), Melbourne (26 November) and Sydney (19 November)  headlined by some of Australia’s top kitchen talent. $140 all inclusive except Melbourne $160. Bookings at

Japan or Puglia?

Japan will be a new destination for me next year, hosting a land content tour here in May, a cruise with land content too to New Zealand in January and a repeat of my land content only trip to Puglia in October 2019.

Come and join me on one of my tours planned for next year:
Japan – A Culinary & Cultural Adventure 14-25 May 2019
with Mary Rossi Travel. I have known the MD, Claudia Rossi since high school and we have worked to come up with a very special itinerary.
 She and her husband are coming too and it promises to be an amazing trip. We have an upper limit of 20 people and there is a reasonable single supplement. Details here.

Hand-making bread in the time-honoured traditional way in Basilicata, just one of the authentic experiences

The Food Adventure in Puglia  and Basilicata trip in May with Southern Visions was a great success and so we are going to repeat it 14 – 20 October, 2019. The program is very similar to what we did this year . Details here.

It would be wonderful to have YOU on one of these.

You could join a happy group like this and frolic in Puglia

I’m off to Munich for a few days so keep up to date with my travels on all my social media channels: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.
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